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Nintendo's Got It All Wrong
Written By: AJ Middleton

Everyone complains about how the Nintendo 64 era was a disaster. Solid fans, not necessarily fanboys, might even refer to the period as "The Dark Ages." Why was Nintendo still using carts? Why did they reject the disks? Some say it was pure luck that Nintendo came out of that time alive. Others say it was all skill. But whatever you wish to call it, the N64 was a technological mistake. So, naturally, with the coming of the GCN, all of us happy Nintendo fans just knew that the new system would bring the company up to par with Sony and any future disk-based system. Right?

ÖWrong.

Nintendo may have the technology, but they donít have the brains to use it correctly.

1. Only a game system?:

I can see where Ninty was coming from with making the Gamecube a game system only. It makes perfect sense. The fans want to play games, so give them a game console. Extra features, like a CD and DVD player, only add to the cost. The cheaper system makes it more attractive, and thus, sales will be better. Again, makes sense, but itís too idealistic and old fashioned. When both of your major competitors have "super consoles" it just makes sense to make yours super as well. A low price IS appealing, but get with the times. Most mainstream gamers want the system plus the CD and DVD player. Thatís what attracts people. You accomplish three in one. Itís appears to be a deal, even if only a few pennies are saved. And why is the super console so popular? Because PS2 and X-Box set the standard for modern consoles by coming out first! Why choose to be less than the standard when itís only going to hurt you? The ĎCube is like an old oven, while the ĎStation and ĎBox offer us the complete oven with the stove on top. Thanks to this error, the Gamecube looks obsolete already.

2. Mini-disks?:

Yes, the mini disks were unique. However, the idea automatically killed any chances of "sideward" compatibility with CDs and DVD. Even IF Nintendo was stuck on the mini-disk idea, they could have easily made the disk area large enough to support AT LEAST music CDs. Even the PSX had that!

3. Itís called infinite lengthÖ:

Face it. By using disks, you can have a game that can be pretty much as big and long as you want to it to be. Thanks to the cheaper cost of the data format and the memory card technology, one game can span multiple disks. Then WHY has Nintendo not taken advantage of this yet? It seems like they donít understand, and they tell their developers not too as well. They could draw out great games so they supply us with a long, moving, exciting adventure. But nooo. Nintendo still gives us games that, sans graphics and any voice acting, could be cart length. Look at what we have:

  • Star Fox Adventures- full of cart-sized areas and hours of repetition
  • Pikmin - 10-12 hours
  • Luigiís Mansion- 2-5 hours
  • Rouge Leader- at least 5 hours

Nintendo still seems confined by a limit that doesnít exist anymore. And the feeling of this imaginary limit makes certain games come out rushed and half-done *coughSFAcough*. I truly want to see a load of good long games (25+ hours) and multi-disk adventures appear on the Cube in the near future.

4. See, thatís why we use a MEM-OR-EE CARD:

Again, Nintendo is stuck in that cart mentality trap. It blows me away when I can only save a limited number of files of a certain game on my memory card. Whatís the point of having the card if you canít use it to its fullest? If youíre going to limit my saves, well geez, just scrap the card and make the disk rewriteable so we can save to it. Ninty doesnít seem to be getting this whole disk thing at all.

5. The gift of giving:

Back in the early days of PSX, I can remember how Sony liked to put free demo disks in with the actual game. Although this isnít done as much anymore, it would be neat if Nintendo occasionally threw in a few demos and movies in with their highly anticipated titles. On top of that, electronics stores arenít allowed to give away or even sell the demo disks that are playable in the displays. And just why not? They tell the stores to throw them out. Thatís almost ridiculous as fast-foot restaurants throwing out anything not sold at the end of the day instead of donating it to homeless shelters. Thatís why Iím surprised that Ninty went all out with the Zelda bonus disk. Not only did it contain the two games, but preview movies, a manual, a preview Wind Waker manual, AND a normal GCN game case. Nintendo needs to learn to give a lot more. Maybe it will help boost the sales a little.

Nintendoís missed the boatÖagain. Everyone else uses CDs, while Nintendoís still on carts. They finally get the same media as everyone else, but they fail to make a modern and complete system. This mistake not only has limited the games, but it already outdates their machine, putting them behind again this early. Will this pattern happen once more? The launch date of Nintendoís new system is before that of Sony and Microsoftís new toys. This could mean a number of things. If it contains all of the necessities and more, it could set the standard for consoles, forcing Microsoft and Sony to meet it in order to be successful. Then again, that could force the competitors to beat it, leaving Nintendo in the dust another time. Or, the early release could have a "Dreamcast effect" if what Nintendo has to offer doesnít please gamers who are highly anticipating the goodies of the PS3 and Y-Box. But, if Nintendo continues to be stubborn and stick to game-only, I think itís safe to say that itís over.

Ah, I can hear the anti-Nintendo sales pitch now: Why just buy a console when you can have a "super console"! Complete with a CD-ROM, DVD player, hard drive, complete backward compatibility, satellite TV, a microwave, a Pez dispenser, and more!

Posted: 3-19-03



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